About the author: Chris Abts is the President & founder of Cornerstone Retirement Group based in Reno, NV. He has helped hundreds of clients prepare for retirement through his proprietary planning process. Abts is also a best-selling author and TV show host. Learn more about Chris.
As I’m sure you are aware, Equifax recently announced a security breach of personal information of 143 million Americans. While a security breach is not new, the size of this event is alarming, considering there are approximately 250 million adults in our country.
Odds are, you may have experienced identity theft in the past, such as a fraudulent charge on a credit card. While this is frustrating, it is easily resolved by simply notifying the credit card company, cancelling the charge, and issuing a new credit card number. However, identity is far more serious when your personal information, such as your date of birth or social security is stolen, as these numbers do not change. Even worse, they can remain in the hands of the wrong people indefinitely.
If you have not done so already, it would be wise to visit the Equifax website to determine if your personal or financial information may have been exposed. IF so, you may want to consider signing up for the Equifax TrustedID Premier credit monitoring service that is being offered by Equifax to all consumers for free for one year.
In addition to the above recommendation, the following are some precautionary steps that would be prudent to follow to help make sure your personal information is more secure in the future.
First, review your passwords on your various accounts and consider strengthening them and verify you are not using the same password for multiple accounts. Second, systematically review your credit reports on a regular basis with all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Third, consider putting a fraud alert on your accounts and possibly sign up for identity theft protection.
Cornerstone follows the highest security standards in our industry and consistently reviews our processes and procedures to make sure we are doing what is in our client’s best interest.